Thursday, June 27, 2013

The white cochin

The white cochin the last of the cochin was found dead in the coop tonight. I'm not sure what she died of the was no wounds or visible reasons for her death.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cats, Foxes, Feathers, Dog Butts and Traps

I hate posting all this sad stuff but it seems to be most of the stuff happening is sad, so if you want to get to the kind of nice part skip to the last paragraph. Wednesday afternoon we took Nick our beagle to the vet. He was due for shots and we wanted them to check out a bump on his butt that we thought was an anal gland not expressing its self (basically the gland releases fluid while the animal is pooping). Shots went well he only jumped a little at the second shot, but it turns out the gland is fine but he has a hernia. We are to keep an eye on the bump and make sure it doesn't get bigger and to try to get him to lose weight to relive some pressure. The weight he has to loose he gained after neutering, before he looked like we were starving him and couldn't keep weight on him, but now he is a bit over where he should be.

But we headed home and I let Nick inside and told my mom I was going to check on the Baby chicken (the 3/4 EE and 1/4 BA) because before we left she had gotten loose and I didn't feel like chasing her down and thought she would be fine. But I wend out and couldn't find her. And then I found the feathers, her feathers scattered across part of the yard and beside the coop. I tried to get the birds inside but the big flock wasn't having it, so I went inside felling horrible but with no way to fix it and was planning to set the trap for the presumed raccoon that night. But a little while latter I heard Red giving a warning/scared call. So I race out expecting a raccoon to find something I didn't expect, a fox. Let me explain my surprise of seeing a fox, in my life I've seen a few dead foxes on the road (5 or 6) and only a few live ones far far away from my house (2 or 3), and a few years ago soon after I got my first chickens a neighbor down the road had warned me that they had seen a fox but I had never seen it. I've seen more live black bears then I have foxes including one many years ago in our yard. So I was a little bit shock at seeing it but still went into mama chicken mode and ran screaming and yelling at it and scared it off. Then the big flock was then ready to go into the coop once they calmed down a little. But well I was doing that my mom called one of our neighbors who has chickens, geese, and peafowl to warn them and found out they had already lost 3 birds. So they will be on the look out to deal with the fox as well.

So I  retrieved one of my higher power guns from my dad's the next day (here I usually only have a 22) and I have it on hand to deal with the fox if it comes back in the yard ( for those who know guns it is double barrel with one barrel being a shotgun and the other a 222). But so far it hasn't been seen again and until it does I can't let the flock out. So the big flock is stuck on their side of the coop with the other side open for air flow. But the little cochin is now all alone. Originally she was on the big flock side of the coop in a cage but was not dealing well with the heat and is currently living in a cage in my bedroom until the fox is dealt with and I figure out what to do.

So you see this is not going well. But now we get to the expensive part of the story. I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably not going to get a shot in at the fox after scaring it so I need to trap it and according to the internet this is a very hard thing to do because the little devils are smart. But I ended up deciding that I need a trap that would fit a fox to at least try. So I went and bought a trap (a havahart  type trap) for about $180 including tax. This thing is huge and on the list of animals that it's to trap (all of these types of traps come with a list of 3 animals that they are suppose to trap), it is to catch coyotes, foxes, and bobcats. To give you another idea on size I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee and the trap is longer then the Jeep is wide. and to add to the fun of loading it, me and my sister couldn't get the back seat to go down. We ended up getting the head rests off the back seat and squeezing it in over the set where it took up from the back of  the front seats to the rear window which just barely closed. So lots of fun but I got it home and it is currently sitting behind the chicken coop to let it loose some of its  people/store smell. This trap also comes with a cage inside of it to hold live bait, so if I get despite I can put a chicken in there and have it fairly safe to lure the fox in. I'll try to get some pictures of it soon but my computer is having problems and I'm not sure if I could get them to upload.

Now to the slightly good part of this post we have had a short haired grey stripe male cat that has been showing up about once a month since January. I'm starting to think its living with our neighbors cats and just coming around for some extra food. Then in the past week or so another stray has shown up a long haired grey striped cat. This sweetheart has taken to sleeping in the yard out past the coop. But Butterscotch , who should be the nicest since he was once a stray/dumpee himself, has decided that he doesn't like him or her (I'm going to call it a her for the rest of post because it looks like a girl to me even if I don't know for sure) and is picking fights. But Friday night I went out and got within 5 feet of her before she got nerves and went to the edge of the woods. I went and grabbed some food and let her get something in her stomach because she, even with her long fur, looks too thin. But last night I decided to try again as she was sitting next to the coop (she seems to like the chicken coop, so maybe at her past home there was a barn or a chicken coop? And no she isn't going after the birds) and took some food with me and after sitting out there and slowly luring her in with food she ate out of my hand. Then in the middle of this bonding and eating I feel something rub across my back, Butterscotch, who I grabbed to prevent him from going after her but I couldn't stop him from hissing and scaring her back to the woods. So I grabbed him and deposited him back inside and grabbed some more food and she was much more willing to come up to me knowing I have food for her, then she let me pet and gently rub her ears and head. But any fast movements made her nerves. Then I found that she is even thinner then I thought, under her pretty fur she has huge mats of fur on both sides that will need to be cut out. But she got her stomach full and was just eating a few random pieces instead of shoveling it in and was letting me pet her when something startled her and sent her back into the woods. But I think she will stick around and hopefully we can get Butterscotch to accept her. At the very lest I hope to get some weight on her and get the mats cut out.